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Supervisors, do something

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Please, could you all help with this water problem? I live in Independence Ranch area and am witnessing one house after another having to lower their water pumps. The wells are only so deep, as you know, and the drinkable water table only so deep. We had to lower our well, and every house surrounding me has done the same. That makes four.

I am hearing that the wine growers are especially culpable for the water table dropping.

We have always struggled to survive and get ahead. We are by no means wealthy—just working people with a miserable 401k, a home, a few pets, and a mortgage that will be paid off when I get to around 85, no kidding. What I am getting at is that if the water is gone, so is all we have struggled for. We won’t be able to sell the place, and we won’t be able to afford to truck water in. So the house goes and so does the miniscule equity we have built up.

Now these wineries are big businesses, with tens to hundreds of millions of dollars invested. I do believe they did water-sustainably studies before they invested that money. What were they thinking? I mean, they must have foreseen problems down the road concerning water. I suspect that they, like Big Oil or Big Anything, simply left out of their equation any concern for residents—or worse, adopted an attitude of “F” them; profit is all.

Fine, that is capitalism. But we worker bees have people elected to protect the society in general, and they make laws and such. We pay taxes to support the whole thing. As I understand, California law says water goes to residents first, agriculture second, and others last. (Is wine production even agriculture by definition?)

So please, for all residents concerned—including Paso City and all the surrounding areas—stop the wineries from making obscene profits at the cost of other people’s homes and lives.

-- Jim Smith - San Miguel

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